Ornelas rises from knockdown to beat Bravo

Raj Sharma @ Ringside


Ornelas rises from knockdown to beat Bravo

It was déjà vu for Enrique Ornelas. Once again, the La Habra, California, middleweight had to climb off the canvas before stopping a veteran opponent. Ornelas survived a third-round Norberto Bravo left hook, coming back to halt the Contender veteran after seven exciting rounds Friday night at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California.

“He took a lot of punches; he had a strong chin,” Ornelas said.

Ornelas overcame two knockdowns to halt former WBO champion Bronco McKart in a bout hailed as one of 2007’s finest. Bravo, 37 and moving up in weight, didn’t seem to pose much of a risk but turned out to be a handful for the defending NABF champion.

Ornelas started well, applying pressure and landing some hard punches to the body and head. Late in the first, a Bravo right appeared to drop Ornelas, but referee Lou Moret ruled it a slip.

Ornelas began to use his height and reach advantages in the second, looking to catch the shorter Bravo coming in. A solid 1-2 before the bell got the Arizona fighters attention.

Bravo struck pay dirt in the third with the hook but couldn’t inflict more damage as Ornelas slipped his follow up shots. Ornelas came back to box effectively in the fourth, and by the fifth Bravo was noticeably tiring.

Ornelas hurt Bravo late in the seventh round, and the bout was halted in the fatigued Arizona fighter’s corner before the start of the eighth. Ornelas improves to 27-4(17) with the victory, while the scrappy Bravo falls to 25-15-3(14). 

“I wasn’t really surprised,” said Ornelas of the bout’s ending. “What happened happened. Norberto can take a great shot and I give him all the credit in the world.”

“Scottish” Craig McEwan, a former decorated U.K. amateur trained by Freddie Roach, improved his record to 10-0(6) with an eight-round unanimous decision win over durable Erik Esquivel in the co-feature. Official scores were 78-74 twice and 80-72.

McEwan outboxed Esquivel over the first half of the bout, catching the Mexican fighter with solid lefts from the southpaw stance. Esquivel staged a mini-rally in the 5th, connecting with a cracking hook and later landing a hard right with McEwan against the ropes. The bout’s pace slowed in the final two rounds with McEwan doing more. Esquivel slips to 15-7-1(12) with the loss.

Robert Vargas and Scott Furney fought to a four-round technical draw in the opener, a hard-fought lightweight contest. Furney dropped the debuting Vargas with a right in the first, but the rookie got the better of the action in the second and third heats. After Furney sustained his second cut of the night, over the left eye from an accidental head butt, the bout was called off. All three judges scored the contest 37-37. Furney is now 1-3-1.

With the card starting around 4:30 p.m.  to accommodate live television on the East Coast, some of the preliminary bouts took place after the main event. Christopher Martin improved to 9-0 with six-round unanimous decision over Adrian Aleman in a super bantamweight bout. Jose Magallon handed Gregorio Torres his first loss in a featherweight contest, and local favorite Carlos Tangrago made a successful pro debut by outpointing Carlos Herrera in a four round junior welterweight bout.


Prior to the fight card, Golden Boy Promotions held a press conference to officially announce the March 22 lightweight bout between Ring Magazine titleholder Joel Casamayor and interim WBO champion Michael Katsidis. Dubbed as “Desert Storm”, the fight will also be held at the Morongo and televised by HBO. Tickets for the bout go on sale Wednesday February 27. For more information, call (951)755-5391.